Amy Walker, OD, MBA, Service Chief for Optometry Services discusses ways to prevent and strategies to cope with dry eye:
The driest place on the planet for your eyes is your car (never point the vents near your eyes). But the second driest place on the planet is your workplace. We often cannot control the temperature or the humidity of the office buildings in which we work. An arid climate coupled with long hours in front of a computer create the perfect dry eye storm especially in winter months.
There are several ways to battle workplace dry eye. First, ask your ophthalmologist or optometrist for a recommendation on a good quality artificial tear. They are available at your local pharmacy or grocery and do not require a prescription. Keep a bottle on your desk next to your computer. When your eyes begin to feel dry and fatigued, take a personal moment, lean back in your chair and place a drop of artificial tears in each eye. Close a whole minute and repeat. Taking a two-minute breather from your computer not only moisturizes but rests your eyes’ accommodative (focusing) system.
Other things you can do (if your company policy allows) is put a plant or several plants in your cubical area. Well-watered plants give off moisture and fresh oxygen. Also, try a small, desk-top humidifier. Go to the infant section of your favorite department store and you will find small humidifiers for a nursery that will serve you well at your desk.
And lastly, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! Eye glands that produce your tears and eye oils require lots of moisture from your body to keep flowing. Many adults are dehydrated and their glands do not function at optimal levels creating dry eyes. I challenge you to have a full glass of water as your first beverage in the morning (not coffee), and keep a pitcher or container of water on your desk to remind you to drink water all day.
If you have any questions about dry eye, please call your eye care provider or discuss it at your next eye appointment.
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